Subject: APO 3.5m users committee minutes, August 2014

From: Suzanne Hawley

Submitted: Fri, 29 Aug 2014 14:17:13 -0700 (PDT)

Message number: 1339 (previous: 1338, next: 1340 up: Index)

 		APO 3.5-m Users Committee Phonecon, 8/25/14

Attending:  Suzanne Hawley, Mark Klaene, Remy Indebetouw, Scott Anderson, 
Rachel Kuzio de Naray, Bill Ketzeback, Mary Beth Kaiser, Rene Walterbos, 
Jon Holtzman, Michael Strauss, Joanne Hughes Clark, John Wisniewski, Jeff 
Bary, Russet McMillan, and Bruce Gillespie


User feedback and comments from institutional representatives:

   o Washington - Scott had nothing new to report.

   o Virginia - Remy had nothing new to report.

   o Georgia State - Rachel Kuzio de Naray asked if we have any tools for 
remote observers to see the daytime sky around APO.  Mark and Bruce had 
some ideas and will forward information to Rachel.

   o Princeton - Michael Strauss said he has sent the final quarterly 
Princeton scheduling request to Suzanne; a bittersweet announcement.

   o NMSU - Jon Holtzman had nothing new to report.

   o Seattle - Joanne had nothing new to report.

   o Oklahoma - John had nothing new to report.

   o NAPG - Jeff had nothing new to report.


Discussion of telescope/instruments report:

Mark highlighted elements of his report; see below.  In addition, he 
mentioned that the new TCC software has been running successfully for the 
past couple of weeks.  There is also a contamination issue with the 
echelle detector, which is being slowly warmed to see if the contamination 
will sublimate and migrate somewhere else.  Users should be aware of this 
issue, which may have some noticeable effects on the data; check with Bill 
Ketzeback or Russet McMillan if you have questions.


 	      3.5-m Telescope and Instruments Highlights
 	               06/18/14 through 08/15/14

0) Overview

The site had the planned power outage for the automatic transfer switch 
replacement.  While it went longer than expected we were available for 
observing that night.  Some systems were maintained on loaner generators. 
Monsoon rains came on schedule and we have gotten good rainfall so far for 
the season.  Current predictions call for a wet winter.

1) Telescope

Prior to and in between the planned summer shutdowns the telescope behaved 
nicely.  The first shutdown was completed on schedule with all tasks 
except M2 re-aluminizing completed.  This was put off for a year due to 
mirror-handling cart parts being delayed.  As of this writing the second 
shutdown for the new TCC is progressing well despite poor weather and 
limited on sky time.

2) Instruments

DIS has been operating normally and saw vacuum servicing during the first 
shutdown including cleaning field corrector and new Ion pumps.  Agile is 
operational with no problems. Guiding with the new TCC is still in work. 
TripleSpec had no operational problems this period and also saw vacuum 
servicing.  SPIcam was operational during this period with no issues. 
Echelle has been operational and was vacuum serviced during the second 
shutdown including new Ion pump.  NIC-FPS continues to operate in 
shared-risk observing mode due to occasional image corruption issue, NFS 
less than 9 is operational.  Vacuum serviced including new ion pump. 
GIFS is operational.  The short LN2 hold time designed in by GFSC 
continues to be a problem and so the instrument is currently kept warm 
until needed.


The instrument development is proceeding on schedule.  A go-ahead was 
given on the optics and dewar design.  The optics are on order.  The 
machining for the dewar is complete.  The detector is ready for thinning 
and mounting and AR coating.  We are waiting on the vendor to give us 
final coating specifications so a decision can be made on actual coating 


Summer shutdowns recap - Ketzeback:

Bill described the two recent shutdowns.  The first shutdown was heavy on 
instrument maintenance, plus the recoating of the tertiary mirror in the 
telescope.  The secondary mirror, whose coating continues to be in good 
condition, will be recoated next year.  For the instruments, the DIS 
cameras, NIC-FPS, TripleSpec, and the echelle tank were all serviced. 
GIFS continues to be kept warm until scheduled for on-sky use.  During the 
second shutdown, the TCC upgrade and migration to a new platform was the 
main task, which went well.  Mark added that all the uninterruptible power 
supplies were serviced (e.g., new batteries, etc.).  He noted that we do 
not have enough people, time, and vacuum-pumping equipment to service all 
of our instruments during the summer shutdowns, especially if the work 
coincides with SDSS engineering.  This issue will need further discussion.


Visiting instruments - Hawley, Ketzeback:

Suzanne mentioned that a group from the Nanjing Institute of Astronomical 
Optics and Technology (NIAOT) has a new leasing arrangement with the ARC 
3.5m, and is planning a visiting-instrument run at APO this winter.  They 
have a near-IR AO imager, and they are connected with astronomers at NMSU 
and CSUN.  Additionally, Chris Stubbs is talking about possibly bringing a 
"lucky imager" to APO sometime in the next several months.  If anyone is 
interested in learning more about either of these visiting instruments, 
contact Suzanne or Bill.


ARCSAT plans for Q4 - Hawley, Ketzeback:

Suzanne announced that we've elected to continue scheduling ARCSAT through 
quarter 4 as shared-risk, and at no cost to users.  There will be a call 
for proposals for the October through December observing period issued in 
a couple of weeks.  Suzanne added that we may limit the time allocations 
to 1 week per group due to the expected demand.  We will also continue to 
schedule ARCSAT in 1-week blocks to minimize filter and camera changes. 
Suzanne suggested that experienced ARCSAT users at different institutions 
are free to talk to each other and informally swap observing time within 
their weeks of block scheduling.


Adler observing to start in Q4 - Hawley, McMillan:

Suzanne said that Mark Hammergren's Adler/NASA program starts in quarter 
4.  Adler is leasing 100 half nights per year for the next two years (with 
a possible 3-year extension), which is roughly equal to the UChicago share 
of the telescope.  The program will follow up and track NEOs.  A lot of 
the observing will be done in the midnight changeover time, similar to the 
APOLLO observing program, and meaning that normal half nights will be 
shortened by about an hour.  Programs that are signficantly impacted by 
the Adler observing (ie sharing more than once or twice) will receive 
compensation as much as possible within the Q4 schedule.


WIYN observing in 2015 - Hawley:

For the WIYN 2015A semester, Suzanne said we are accepting informal 
proposals for ARC observers to use WIYN, with the time being taken out of 
the ARC 3.5-m allocation in any of the next three quarters: Q4, Q1, and 
Q2.  Joanne said that she has learned that the pODI camera will be removed 
from WIYN in November, to be upgraded and returned possibly in late 
spring.  Joanne will advise us when more information is known.


Institutional passwords - Klaene:

Mark noted that there is a need to tighten password security on the newton 
and ARCSAT computers, and reminded users that they should first go to 
their schedulers and/or Users Committee representatives for the passwords, 
and ask the APO site staff as a last resort.  Jon Holtzman suggested that 
the passwords be changed more infrequently; quarterly seems a bit 


35-general email list - Ketzeback, Hawley:

Suzanne said that the apo35-general mailer will be migrated from Princeton 
to APO soon, probably sometime in September.  Michael Strauss said that 
all the mailer history can also be migrated.  Suzanne noted that both JHU 
and UW have an internal exploder for the apo35-general mailings, and other 
institutions could also choose to adopt this approach.  Some paring of old 
email addresses to remove people no longer associated with ARC 
institutions will be done during the migration.


New teleconference system - Klaene, Hawley:

Mark and Suzanne mentioned that ARC is moving to a new teleconferencing 
system based on Adobe Connect.  SDSS has already made this switch.  We are 
waiting for some bugs to be worked out before we adopt the new system, but 
in any case it will be the only option by January, 2015.



Suzanne said that we will need science highlights, 1-2 viewgraphs in 
powerpoint format from each institution, to present at the ARC Board 
meeting in November.  The call for these science highlights will go out in 
September with a due date in October.



[open from previous meeting]:


[new from this meeting]:



Next meeting:  The next Users Committee phonecon will be on Monday 29 
September.  The agenda and other materials will be sent to the committee 
members during the preceding week.

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